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Back to Education Allowance 35 year old married two dendpendants

  • 18-09-2023 2:14pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6

    Hi all

    I am in a dead end job that I absolutely hate. I've been in the same job for 14 years. As a health care assistant. I am now part time.

    I want to return desperately to third level as I do not have any qualifications at third level.

    I have done level 8 special purpose award and most recently a professional diploma with UCD. I also have a level 5 full certificate in health care support.

    What I want advice on is how do mature students leave a job but also have some sort of financial help along the way.

    I'm half thinking if handing in my notice and claiming job seekers for 9 months then apply for back to education allowance but the fear is leaving this job willingly.

    I have two primary school going children. I feel its now or never.

    My husband is self employed. This doesn't mean we're rolling in it either. From my research alot of pathways are geared to the unemployed or social welfare recipients and I feel stuck in the middle and can't find any info for someone like me.

    Hard to find a distance online degree aswell.

    I want to do marketing/Communications/ Public relations.

    Thanks in advance


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,001 ✭✭✭TooTired123


    This is a very frequent query.

    If you leave your job then you will be disqualified from jobseekers for 9 weeks.

    This doesn’t mean that your entitlement to 9 months Jobseekers Benefit would begin after the 9 weeks. It means that your entitlement to jobseekers benefit would only be the 9 months LESS the 9 weeks.

    So at the end of your period of jobseekers benefit you wouldn’t have the required 9 months needed for BTEA.

    You could ask to be means tested for JSA when your benefit ends but as your husband is self employed you probably won’t get very much as there are no disregards for self employed income.

    Im afraid that as an adult, leaving work to go back into education is mostly at your own expense.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,270 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    If you have a Level 8 you cannot get BTEA for another Level 8 (or lower); even if it is a SPA.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6 buttcrackbill

    Hi thanks for replies.

    Yea I'm confused about the national frame work. I don't have a degree but did do a level 8 special purpose award a good few years back it was worth 60 ects credits. It took from September to May one evening a week. I mentioned it thinking universities would acknowledge that it was quite an academic achievement.

    What is a SPA.


    So is it just a play on words the back to education allowance.

    How does anyone actually qualify for it.

    Do you have to be 23 living at home with parents.

    A member of the travelling community

    Or from a socio-economic background.

    Or a refugee.

    I read only this evening about tax relief if anyone knows about that.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,270 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    SPA = Special Purpose Award. It is a QQI Level 8 award even if it didn't take 3 or 4 years full time equivalent like an honours degree or higher diploma would.

    I know plenty of people who got BTEA, but they had all either just leaving certs or maybe L5 PLCs and were going in to L8 courses; and were long term unemployed during the crash. BTEA only allows for "progression" so you can never re-do a QQI level you already have.

    IT31 tax relief is... ****, basically. 20% of over what you spend 1,500 for a part time course.

    Springboard is usually the cheapest way to get access to L7/8 grade courses that doesn't have the same progression rules (my partner has a L8 degree and a L8 Higher Diploma in completely different topics for instance); and your L8 SPA will probably do for access to any of them - but they might not be in the areas you want. You'll need to be quick if looking to do one this year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6 buttcrackbill

    Thanks for your replies L1011. You have given some great info.

    I didn't know about Springboard. I'll take a look.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,001 ✭✭✭TooTired123

    It’s actually not difficult. Say you are made redundant from your job. If you are made redundant you will get jobseekers benefit and you will qualify for BTEA as soon as you find a course.

    If you’ve been on jobseekers for a long time and can’t get a job because you don’t have any academic qualifications then BTEA allows you to continue getting financial support why you gain that qualification.

    But it’s only for people who really don’t have any 3rd level education.

    If you already have achievements at 3rd level then you don’t get a second bite at the apple or at least you won’t get state assistance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6 buttcrackbill

    OK so it's looking like distance learning, or full time degree and try fit work and kids around it 🤔

    The Fitzwilliam Institute keeps coming up on my google searches. (Some good seo marketing there) The courses look interesting but they're not accredited and any jobs that I swoon over all look for degrees.

    Thanks for any more replies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6 buttcrackbill

    There's alot of postgraduate Level 9 courses that look achievable because of the blended or online options.

    I wonder could I apply for one of these, given the level 8 SPA award that I have.

    I also have a professional diploma in Content writing for Marketing from UCD Professional Academy.

    I'm sure I could get a good reference from the tutor.

    But I understand its not QQI accredited so don't know if it would carry much weight.

    Thanks again for any replies.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,270 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Each course should specify the entry requirements. Many of the l9 springboard courses are designed specifically for people with l8 SPAs to do

  • Registered Users Posts: 6 buttcrackbill

    Thanks. So these level 9 courses they are higher diplomas not masters.

    Thanks had no idea I could apply for these

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